Journey – Day 3-4

Traveling at a much faster speed through the woods of Mississippi than through the many stops between New Orleans and Laurel make me a much happier camper, though I was asleep (or desiring to be) for the majority of that leg. Ipod tunage infusing my brain, instead of the small whining child across the aisle from me who is also apparently headed to NYC, and laptop in… well… my lap, I'm feeling a bit more refreshed and set for this train trip. I just learned that they only take reservations for lunch in the dining car. Oooooh. How I wish Orient Express-esque meals would be available, though I imagine myself instead sitting in the car at my own table on Valentine's Day slowly nibbling on a cheeseburger and sipping on an icy Bud. Yes, it's Valentine's Day, but I don't feel the forced over-marketed sadness of not having someone share my coupled seating. Good, actually. Though I do wish I'd remembered to put chocolate in my bag for the ride. Damn. And water. I bet they have THAT in the dining car.

After coffee at Fair Grinds, yesterday, I walked across the street to Café Dégas for lunch with my friend Debbie. Boudin Noir (yes, more) with choucroute and a glass of Côte du Rhöne. I don't know if those are supposed to work, but they did, and it was lovely. Debbie even gave me a jar of her homemade marmalade, which I'm very anxious to try.

After lunch, Debbie and I said our goodbyes and I headed back over to Fair Grinds for iced chai tea with Arpana. Soon after, Shawn showed up, and we all headed over to watch the horses and have a beer at Fair Grounds. Only one $2 bet with no wins, so we headed back to Shawn's so I could reorganize and bring my things over to Arpana's. Shawn had some things to take care of, so Arpana and I took a drive to the Quarter and then over to Mimi's in the Marigny. FABULOUS place! Cozier upstairs, we shared a few tapas including goat cheese croquetas, an OMG mushroom-manchego toast with a sherry sauce, patatas bravas, cucumber slices with salmon, crême fraîche and caviar, garlicky gambas on bread, charred stuffed avocado with white truffle oil, and dates with strawberries, grapes, and blue cheese. Yum Yum, indeed!
The night ventured on to d.b.a. on Frenchman Street, where we met up with Marc and his friends again, Laure and Gérard,  and listened to Rotary Downs. Nothing earth-shattering, but their rendition of  Cash and Carter's Jackson was, yes, I'll say it, phenomenal.

Realizing I needed to wake up in only a few short hours, it was time to head 'home'. Now here I sit approaching Meridian, Mississippi (a designated stretch-your-legs-and-smoke stop). Guess I'll put away the keyboard until I discover what our lunch treats will be.

Several hours pass…

Lunch was better than I expected. Fairly airplane-esque; must be transportation regulation er something. Chicken stew with red Thai curry, rice and steamed vegetables. I met a computer geek named Louis (or Lewis) who writes special education programs for schools. He was visiting New Orleans with his fiancée, but unfortunately was on his way back to a town near Lynchburg, Virginia, while she was back in school in Austin. He had the angus burger. And we had a nice chat. Funny how they pair people together in the dining car.

The journey continues… Bon appétit!

Café Dégas Fair Grounds
Arpana and Shawn
Gérard, Laure, Marc, et Moi
Rotary Downs
Train Food


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